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It appears doubtful Hyun-Jin Ryu will start again until the postseason

He doesn’t have to arrive on a white horse. No need to have the cavalry charging behind him, bugler announcing his return, his fastball checking in near 100 mph.

The Dodgers don’t need a reinvented or oversized Hyun-Jin Ryu back, just the familiar one they’ve watched for the last two seasons.

Ryu continues to rehabilitate his sore shoulder, and all are careful not to burden him with a timetable. But if the Dodgers are quietly comfortable he will be able to return by the playoffs, they are far less certain he will pitch again during the regular season.

Of course, after Tuesday only four games remain on the Dodgers’ schedule before the playoffs beckon. And he has yet to throw off a mound since shutting it down after throwing one inning on Sept. 12.

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We’re getting close,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “We’re notching off days here, and the fact that he’s not been on the mound isn’t good. But I think we’re pleased with the progress of Hyun-Jin and how he’s doing.

“He’s moving forward and not having any complaints afterward. So we’re happy with his progress. But I’d be a little surprised if we saw him before the end of the year.”

Ideally, the Dodgers would like to see Ryu pitch a few innings this weekend to assure him, and themselves, that he is recovered and ready to start in the postseason.

But the shoulder is the kind of injury that basically needs rest and time to heal and it’s not like he can just work it back into shape.

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“He’s still throwing, still moving forward,” Mattingly said. “Hasn’t had any setbacks, so still going. Still playing catch at this point, no mounds. I haven’t heard anything more about pushing him any further other than increase distance and increase velocity.”

Still, the Dodgers are counting on him to be ready to go as their third starter in the postseason. Ryu is 14-7 on the year, with a 3.38 earned-run average and a 1.19 WHIP.

Previously he went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore hip a month ago, did not make a rehab appearance and threw seven strong innings in his first start back. The Dodgers are pretty much counting on the same thing to happen with the shoulder.

And it apparently won’t happen until the postseason. If the Dodgers win their division, they would not need Ryu to start Game 3 until Oct. 6, giving him over three weeks between starts.

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